Five Minutes with Derrick Caracter
Lakers rookie big man enjoying his experience in L.A.
by Nima Zarrabi / @NZbeFree
Derrick Caracter’s basketball journey has been well documented. Touted as a superstar by 8th grade, Caracter went on to play college basketball at Louisville and UTEP before declaring for the 2010 Draft. He was selected 58th overall and following a strong summer league performance, he and fellow second-round pick Devin Ebanks made the Lakers roster. The 6-9, 265-pound Caracter has appeared in four games for The Lake Show this year, averaging five minutes per appearance. With Andrew Bynum out for an extended period of time, Caracter might get some decent stretches of run from Coach Phil Jackson. I was able to catch up with DC for a few minutes last Friday in Phoenix.
SLAM: How are you feeling about your role on this team?
Derrick Caracter: I’m feeling comfortable, man. Just waiting my turn—staying sharp. I’m staying in good shape and ready for when my name is called, ready to go out there and produce. I’m trying to get better in practice and treat it like the game, as they say.
SLAM: Do you feel like you understand the triangle offense?
DC: I feel like I’m a smart guy. Seeing it run consistently has helped me pick up things easier as time goes on. I pretty much know the basic triangle already but all the different options out of it at the four and five. At the four, since I’m on the wing, there are things that I can do but haven’t done at the levels that I’ve been playing at so far. It’s about being comfortable and confident out there and knowing I can play on the wing and do things like that.
SLAM: You were the first player off the Lakers bench on opening night. Were you expecting that?
DC: Oh, man. I was so into the game. I was in the locker room watching them get the rings and I’m getting excited—there’s a whole bunch of different emotions going through me at the time. Right before the game, DFish was like ‘This next year we want this to be you. We want you accepting your ring.’ Him saying that, I was like dang. I remember watching the first few minutes of the game out there and all of a sudden I heard Phil call my name and I was like ‘Did he just call my name?’ [Laughs] I wasn’t so sure. So, I was so shocked that he called my name first. I went up there and told myself to just go hard. I got out there and tried to be physical. Kobe comes off the thing, drives two guys and so I get the ball and I turned, I was so rushed. I see Yao’s legs and Pau’s legs and I tried to give him a little dish, it bounced off of there and I got it back and shot a little hook. Watching the tape, I should have taken my time and gathered.
SLAM: It was good to see you have a great summer league and work into a role on this team. It’s been an interesting ride for you the past couple years.
DC: Definitely, definitely—life’s a roller coaster, you know? Thank you.